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Publication numberUS20070155495 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/482,664
Publication dateJul 5, 2007
Filing dateJul 5, 2006
Priority dateDec 19, 2005
Publication number11482664, 482664, US 2007/0155495 A1, US 2007/155495 A1, US 20070155495 A1, US 20070155495A1, US 2007155495 A1, US 2007155495A1, US-A1-20070155495, US-A1-2007155495, US2007/0155495A1, US2007/155495A1, US20070155495 A1, US20070155495A1, US2007155495 A1, US2007155495A1
InventorsPaul Goo
Original AssigneeGoo Paul E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Surf simulator platform / video game control unit and attitude sensor
US 20070155495 A1
Abstract
The surf simulator invention is an electronic training and balancing device. The surf simulator is an attachment accessory like that of a joystick. This surf simulator connects to a computer and transmits movement signals coming from the surf simulator which are interpreted by the computer with the aid of programmed game. In turn, this game creates video visuals of a game character surfing on a wave corresponding to the movement made by the surfboard simulator. When a person or player stands on the surfboard simulator, with sensors contained within the platform, the player tilts left and right, back and forth shifting their weight. With this action taking place, the switches mounted within the surf simulator sense these movements, alternately close circuits to send on and off signals to the attached computer.
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Claims(11)
1. A video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290-filed Dec. 19, 2005 for simulating surfing or other sports related games that are based upon platforms such as skateboards, snowboards, wakeboards, skiing, comprising:
means for the surfboard is the top platform of the surf simulator and can be, solid, rigid and usually oval shaped. the shape can be other shapes such as rectangles, etc. the size and shape is usually 3 times the width and not more than 3 inches in thickness;
means for the velcro strip, made by 3m corporation, allow for quick removal to service the sensor module. these velcro strip fasteners can also be used to fasten the foam cushion base to the surfboard as well as attaching the semi rigid fulcrum pillar to the bottom of the surfboard. it makes it easy to mount new sensor modules and to replace the foam cushion and fulcrum. the use of this velcro stands up better to vibration and weather than screws and glue, replaceably coupled to said means for the surfboard is the top platform of the surf simulator and can be, solid, rigid and usually oval shaped. the shape can be other shapes such as rectangles, etc. the size and shape is usually 3 times the width and not more than 3 inches in thickness;
means for the foam cushion fastened beneath the surfboard is used to keep the surfboard level and allows for ease of tilt of the surfboard when moving forward, backward, right and left. the foam cushion surrounds the semi rigid fulcrum pillar beneath the surfboard. it also provides the feeling of being on water, removably coupled to said means for the surfboard is the top platform of the surf simulator and can be, solid, rigid and usually oval shaped. the shape can be other shapes such as rectangles, etc. the size and shape is usually 3 times the width and not more than 3 inches in thickness;
means for the key function for the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is to support the surfboard and to serve as a fulcrum or balance point. this semi rigid fulcrum pillar is located centrally beneath the surfboard surrounded by compressible foam cushion. this unique, semi rigid fulcrum pillar absorbs the initial weight of the user and should compresses not more than 10% of the height of the fulcrum.
the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is used instead of a sold fulcrum to absorb shock and to add to the
floating feeling of being on water, removably connected to said means for the surfboard is the top platform of the surf simulator and can be, solid, rigid and usually oval shaped. the shape can be other shapes such as rectangles, etc. the size and shape is usually 3 times the width and not more than 3 inches in thickness;
means for the miniature tilt ball switch units contained within the sensor module unit, turn on and off depending on the attitude or angle of the surfboard positioning. the small compact size is approximately 0.5″ long with a diameter of 0.25″ with a small steel ball that rolls back and forth making contact with an end point. the switch units are made by comus switch international of new jersey. as the surfboard tilts up and down, left and right, the sensors will send an on or off signal to the computer;
means for the metal pedestal mounted within the bottom wall of the sensor module enclosure allows for a means to mount the ball switches and also serves as the grounding plate terminal. the height of the metal pedestal is no more than the height of the sensor module case;
means for the function of this element is for carrying signals from the ball switches within the sensor module attached to the bottom of the surfboard to the computer. the conduit of this wire may contain as many as 8 wires to connect several ball switch units; and
means for the function of this element is to house the sensor ball switch units. this module is a case with four walls and is made of heavy duty plastic, metal or aluminum. the size of this module or container is no larger than 4 inches long, by 1.5 inches wide by 1 inch in height. this module allows the quick removal and attachment of the sensors vial velcro mounting strip and is the key element in the surf simulator, permanently held to said means for the velcro strip, made by 3m corporation, allow for quick removal to service the sensor module. these velcro strip fasteners can also be used to fasten the foam cushion base to the surfboard as well as attaching the semi rigid fulcrum pillar to the bottom of the surfboard. it makes it easy to mount new sensor modules and to replace the foam cushion and fulcrum. the use of this velcro stands up better to vibration and weather than screws and glue.
2. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290-filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the surfboard is the top platform of the surf simulator and can be, solid, rigid and usually oval shaped. the shape can be other shapes such as rectangles, etc. the size and shape is usually 3 times the width and not more than 3 inches in thickness comprises a fiberglass, rigid, wood, steel, solid platform, oval shape, new attribute 5 surfboard.
3. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290-filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the velcro strip, made by 3m corporation, allow for quick removal to service the sensor module. these velcro strip fasteners can also be used to fasten the foam cushion base to the surfboard as well as attaching the semi rigid fulcrum pillar to the bottom of the surfboard. it makes it easy to mount new sensor modules and to replace the foam cushion and fulcrum. the use of this velcro stands up better to vibration and weather than screws and glue comprises a flexible connector, absorbs shock better than glue, better than screws, easy to disconnect velcro strip connector.
4. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the foam cushion fastened beneath the surfboard is used to keep the surfboard level and allows for ease of tilt of the surfboard when moving forward, backward, right and left. the foam cushion surrounds the semi rigid fulcrum pillar beneath the surfboard. it also provides the feeling of being on water comprises a compressible, flexible, smaller in shape than top platform cushion foam rubber.
5. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the key function for the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is to support the surfboard and to serve as a fulcrum or balance point. this semi rigid fulcrum pillar is located centrally beneath the surfboard surrounded by compressible foam cushion. this unique, semi rigid fulcrum pillar absorbs the initial weight of the user and should compresses not more than 10% of the height of the fulcrum.
the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is used instead of a sold fulcrum to absorb shock and to add to the
floating feeling of being on water comprises a semi rigid, semi compressible, hard rubber, epp rigid foam semi rigid fulcrum pillar.
6. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the miniature tilt ball switch units contained within the sensor module unit, turn on and off depending on the attitude or angle of the surfboard positioning. the small compact size is approximately 0.5″ long with a diameter of 0.25″ with a small steel ball that rolls back and forth making contact with an end point. the switch units are made by comus switch international of new jersey. as the surfboard tilts up and down, left and right, the sensors will send an on or off signal to the computer comprises an electrical switch, small in size, on and off switch, tilt switch senses angle of surfboard ball switch.
7. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the metal pedestal mounted within the bottom wall of the sensor module enclosure allows for a means to mount the ball switches and also serves as the grounding plate terminal. the height of the metal pedestal is no more than the height of the sensor module case comprises a made of metal, grounding platform for switches, supports ball switches metal pedestal.
8. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the function of this element is for carrying signals from the ball switches within the sensor module attached to the bottom of the surfboard to the computer. the conduit of this wire may contain as many as 8 wires to connect several ball switch units comprises a wire cord conductor, contains several interior wires, carries signals from sensor to computer electrical wire cord.
9. The video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090, application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means for the function of this element is to house the sensor ball switch units. this module is a case with four walls and is made of heavy duty plastic, metal or aluminum. the size of this module or container is no larger than 4 inches long, by 1.5 inches wide by 1 inch in height. this module allows the quick removal and attachment of the sensors vial velcro mounting strip and is the key element in the surf simulator comprises an allows for mounting sensors to surfboard, compact in size 0.7531″, contains ball switches, made of plastic, steel, aluminum sensor module enclosure.
10. A video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 for simulating surfing or other sports related games that are based upon platforms such as skateboards, snowboards, wakeboards, skiing, comprising:
a fiberglass, rigid, wood, steel, solid platform, oval shape, new attribute 5 surfboard, for the surfboard is the top platform of the surf simulator and can be, solid, rigid and usually oval shaped. the shape can be other shapes such as rectangles, etc. the size and shape is usually 3 times the width and not more than 3 inches in thickness;
a flexible connector, absorbs shock better than glue, better than screws, easy to disconnect velcro strip connector, for the velcro strip, made by 3m corporation, allow for quick removal to service the sensor module. these velcro strip fasteners can also be used to fasten the foam cushion base to the surfboard as well as attaching the semi rigid fulcrum pillar to the bottom of the surfboard. it makes it easy to mount new sensor modules and to replace the foam cushion and fulcrum. the use of this velcro stands up better to vibration and weather than screws and glue, replaceably coupled to said surfboard;
a compressible, flexible, smaller in shape than top platform cushion foam rubber, for the foam cushion fastened beneath the surfboard is used to keep the surfboard level and allows for ease of tilt of the surfboard when moving forward, backward, right and left. the foam cushion surrounds the semi rigid fulcrum pillar beneath the surfboard. it also provides the feeling of being on water, removably coupled to said surfboard;
a semi rigid, semi compressible, hard rubber, epp rigid foam semi rigid fulcrum pillar, for the key function for the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is to support the surfboard and to serve as a fulcrum or balance point. this semi rigid fulcrum pillar is located centrally beneath the surfboard surrounded by compressible foam cushion. this unique, semi rigid fulcrum pillar absorbs the initial weight of the user and should compresses not more than 10% of the height of the fulcrum.
the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is used instead of a sold fulcrum to absorb shock and to add to the floating feeling of being on water, removably connected to said surfboard;
an electrical switch, small in size, on and off switch, tilt switch senses angle of surfboard ball switch, for the miniature tilt ball switch units contained within the sensor module unit, turn on and off depending on the attitude or angle of the surfboard positioning. the small compact size is approximately 0.5″ long with a diameter of 0.25″ with a small steel ball that rolls back and forth making contact with an end point. the switch units are made by comus switch international of new jersey. as the surfboard tilts up and down, left and right, the sensors will send an on or off signal to the computer;
a made of metal, grounding platform for switches, supports ball switches metal pedestal, for the metal pedestal mounted within the bottom wall of the sensor module enclosure allows for a means to mount the ball switches and also serves as the grounding plate terminal. the height of the metal pedestal is no more than the height of the sensor module case;
a wire cord conductor, contains several interior wires, carries signals from sensor to computer electrical wire cord, for the function of this element is for carrying signals from the ball switches within the sensor. module attached to the bottom of the surfboard to the computer. the conduit of this wire may contain as many as 8 wires to connect several ball switch units; and
an allows for mounting sensors to surfboard, compact in size 0.7531″, contains ball switches, made of plastic, steel, aluminum sensor module enclosure, for the function of this element is to house the sensor ball switch units. this module is a case with four walls and is made of heavy duty plastic, metal or aluminum. the size of this module or container is no larger than 4 inches long, by 1.5 inches wide by 1 inch in height. this module allows the quick removal and attachment of the sensors vial velcro mounting strip and is the key element in the surf simulator, permanently held to said velcro strip connector.
11. A video game control unit and attitude sensor (follow up on provisional patent filing #6090 application No. 60/752,290—filed Dec. 19, 2005 for simulating surfing or other sports related games that are based upon platforms such as skateboards, snowboards, wakeboards, skiing, comprising:
a fiberglass, rigid, wood, steel, solid platform, oval shape, new attribute 5 surfboard, for the surfboard is the top platform of the surf simulator and can be, solid, rigid and usually oval shaped. the shape can be other shapes such as rectangles, etc. the size and shape is usually 3 times the width and not more than 3 inches in thickness;
a flexible connector, absorbs shock better than glue, better than screws, easy to disconnect velcro strip connector, for the velcro strip, made by 3m corporation, allow for quick removal to service the sensor module. these velcro strip fasteners can also be used to fasten the foam cushion base to the surfboard as well as attaching the semi rigid fulcrum pillar to the bottom of the surfboard. it makes it easy to mount new sensor modules and to replace the foam cushion and fulcrum. the use of this velcro stands up better to vibration and weather than screws and glue, replaceably coupled to said surfboard;
a compressible, flexible, smaller in shape than top platform cushion foam rubber, for the foam cushion fastened beneath the surfboard is used to keep the surfboard level and allows for ease of tilt of the surfboard when moving forward, backward, right and left. the foam cushion surrounds the semi rigid fulcrum pillar beneath the surfboard. it also provides the feeling of being on water, removably coupled to said surfboard;
a semi rigid, semi compressible, hard rubber, epp rigid foam semi rigid fulcrum pillar, for the key function for the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is to support the surfboard and to serve as a fulcrum or balance point. this semi rigid fulcrum pillar is located centrally beneath the surfboard surrounded by compressible foam cushion. this unique, semi rigid fulcrum pillar absorbs the initial weight of the user and should compresses not more than 10% of the height of the fulcrum.
the semi rigid fulcrum pillar is used instead of a sold fulcrum to absorb shock and to add to the
floating feeling of being on water, removably connected to said surfboard;
an electrical switch, small in size, on and off switch, tilt switch senses angle of surfboard ball switch, for the miniature tilt ball switch units contained within the sensor module unit, turn on and off depending on the attitude or angle of the surfboard positioning. the small compact size is approximately 0.5″ long with a diameter of 0.25″ with a small steel ball that rolls back and forth making contact with an end point. the switch units are made by comus switch international of new jersey. as the surfboard tilts up and down, left and right, the sensors will send an on or off signal to the computer;
a made of metal, grounding platform for switches, supports ball switches metal pedestal, for the metal pedestal mounted within the bottom wall of the sensor module enclosure allows for a means to mount the ball switches and also serves as the grounding plate terminal. the height of the metal pedestal is no more than the height of the sensor module case;
a wire cord conductor, contains several interior wires, carries signals from sensor to computer electrical wire cord, for the function of this element is for carrying signals from the ball switches within the sensor module attached to the bottom of the surfboard to the computer. the conduit of this wire may contain as many as 8 wires to connect several ball switch units; and
an allows for mounting sensors to surfboard, compact in size 0.7531″, contains ball switches, made of plastic, steel, aluminum sensor module enclosure, for the function of this element is to house the sensor ball switch units. this module is a case with four walls and is made of heavy duty plastic, metal or aluminum. the size of this module or container is no larger than 4 inches long, by 1.5 inches wide by 1 inch in height. this module allows the quick removal and attachment of the sensors vial velcro mounting strip and is the key element in the surf simulator, permanently held to said velcro strip connector.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation application of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/752,290, filed Dec. 19, 2005, for SURF SIMULATOR PLATFORM FOR VIDEO OR MECHANICAL GAMES, by PAUL E. GOO, included by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 2,978,243 April, 1961 Gabrielson 472/135., issued Apr. 13, 2006, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,159,826 July, 1979 Hancock 482/26., issued Aug. 19, 1977, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,516,768 May., 1985 Gallaro 482/26, issued Sep. 27, 1982, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,534,124 August, 1985 Schnell 482/51, issued Sep. 12, 1983, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,749,180 June, 1988 Boomer 482/51., issued Jun. 4, 1987, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,850,588 July, 1989 Desjardins et al. 482/51., issued May 13, 1988, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,048,823 September, 1991 Bean 482/146., issued Aug. 27, 1990, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,629, issued Nov. 1, 1991, by Vaughan, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,112,045, issued May 1, 1992, by Mason et al., included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,279,528, issued Jan. 1, 1994, by Dalebout et. al, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,439,562, issued Jul. 1, 1995, by Milner, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,509,871, issued Apr. 1, 1996, by Giovanni, included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,769,725, issued Jun. 1, 1998, by Ogden et al., included by reference herein.

The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,851,166, issued Dec. 1, 1998, by Bernardson, included by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a surfing and, more particularly, to a surfing surfboard video game in which a surfing figure on a monitor moves over simulated waves to gain playing rewards is controlled by a foot-actuated surfboard application of U.S. provisional patent application, U.S. Pat. No. 5,851,166, filed Dec. 1, 1998, by Bernardson, included by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed.

Field of the Invention:

The present invention relates to a surfing and, more particularly, to a surfing surfboard video game in which a surfing figure on a monitor moves over simulated waves to gain playing rewards is controlled by a foot-actuated surfboard simulator. The simulator has a horizontally mounted elongated genuine surfboard having a suspension system consisting of a central semi-compressible, non-rigid, fulcrum member adapted to support the board to permit tilting in all directions, and a biasing foam system mounted annularly to the semi rigid fulcrum which tends to maintain the board in a horizontal position and to dampen tilting movement of the board. An attitude sensor and switch module is mounted on the controller and consists of a gravity-actuated closure member, such as a pendulum or ball bearing, having a common electrical contact and positioned to engage one or more of a plurality of equally spaced electrical contacts located around the periphery of the closure member.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a video game including a foot-actuated control unit which may have the shape of a surfboard. In addition, a portion of the invention relates to an attitude sensing device which determines the tilt angle of the platform, and opens and closes a plurality of electrical contacts enabling a signal input to a computer control unit.

Video game control units, commonly called “joysticks”, are well known in the prior art for producing output signals corresponding to the attitude of the joystick, which may be moved along an x-y path to control the movement of a display element on the video terminal. Generally, the control units are adapted to provide signals corresponding to radial movements around a circumference in 45.degree. increments; i.e., from any different location on the screen, the movable figure can move in any of eight different directions depending upon the attitude of the joystick. Generally speaking, joysticks are hand-operated and involve a control element which is movable against a deformable member which permits the element to make contact with one or more switches, thereby permitting completion of a circuit which controls the attitude of the control element. Sometimes the control unit pushes against a series of microswitches installed in the unit causing electrical contact to be made in the manner of pushbutton switch. Frequently, the switches are formed as an array of circuit segments on a printed circuit board. Foot-operated control units are known, and one embodiment of such a unit is found in Lee, U.S. Pat. No. 4,488,017. This patent discloses a foot-operated unit resembling a bathroom scale in which movement of the operator's feet serves to tilt the platform to close certain circuit segments on a printed circuit board in the same manner as a hand-operated controller. Another example of a typical hand-operated video controller is disclosed in Guenther, U.S. Pat. No. 4,461,935.

Other relevant foot-operated amusement devices include a surfing simulator disclosed in Pifer, U.S. Pat. No. 3,863,915; this patent shows a surfboard mounted above a base and suspended by fore and aft mounted pairs of coil springs. An exercising device consisting of a balance board supported by an inverted dome, with a plurality of ground-supported damping members made from foam rubber used to resist tilting of the platform, is disclosed in Francke, U.S. Pat. No. 4,491,318.

Surfing Simulator

Document: U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,629

Abstract: A surfing simulator which uses, in combination, a ball bearing turntable, an adjustable spring plate assembly and a flexible mounting pad to connect a riding deck to a stationary supporting base. In operation, the surfing simulator is mounted by stepping onto the riding deck near its center. As the user's feet are moved apart into the surfing stance, the user's weight can be shifted and rotational forces applied to create and sustain a complex rhythmic motion combining spin, tilt and rocking, which, when properly executed, enables the user to closely simulate and practice the movements, stances and reactions required to perform the sport of surfing.

Kinesthetic Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Device

Document: U.S. Pat. No. 5,112,045

Abstract: A kinesthetic diagnostic and rehabilitation device enables the user to measure the extent of kinesthetic impairment resulting from a bodily injury, particularly an injury to the lower limbs, and also enables the user to rehabilitate the injury. The device is provided with a rigid platform resting atop an unstable support. The ability of the patient to maintain a fixed position on the platform as a function of the instability of the support enables quantification of the patient's kinesthetic impairment. The device further provides rehabilitative exercise.

Variable Speed Balance or Teeter Board

Document: U.S. Pat. No. 4,491,318

Abstract: A variable speed balance or teeter board including a platform, a fulcrum extending downwardly from the bottom of the platform into engagement with a supporting surface. The fulcrum comprising a variety of selectively used members of different shape and height for varying the angularity of the platform tilting action, and damping means comprising a plurality of members of different compressibility selectively or collectively interposed between the platform and the supporting surface for varying the speed of the tilting action of the platform upon application of unevenly distributed weight to the top of the platform, the particular damping member employed being dependent upon the ability of the individual using the balance board.

Mechanical Surfboard Simulator

Document: U.S. Pat. No. 5,509,871

Abstract: A surfboard simulator device for training users in the sport of surfing, the device including a stable base platform and an elevated surfboard unit that is interconnected to the base platform by a spring assembly that provides limited articulation to the surfboard unit to allow fore and aft pitch and side-to-side roll with a bias providing greater side-to-side roll than fore and aft pitch.

Surfing Simulator and Method Using Inflatable Bladders

Document: U.S. Pat. No. 6,168,551

Abstract: This invention uses a plurality of inflatable bladders to support a surfboard or other balancing platform or sport board. The bladders are inflated with a gas or liquid, and as such, provide a fluid medium on which to seat a surfboard. This type of support system provides a sensation similar to that of water. This type of support system also allows for adjustments in the stability of the balancing platform. When used with a surfboard, snowboard, or other delicate standing platform, this type of support system evenly distributes the user's weight-load across a large area of the surfboard, snowboard, or other delicate platform so that it is not damaged.

Here are a list of the shortcomings of other surf simulator patents and solutions:

1) some are mechanical in nature that require motors, hydraulics, electrical motors to move the surfboard.

a) these styles are subject to mechanical failure and are heavy

b) these mechanical styles are intimidating to younger and older people due to the perceived danger

c) set up and disassembly requires a large surrounding safety inflatable mat to prevent severe injuries if one falls off the surf mechanical simulator.

2) some simulators use large inflatable bladders beneath the surfboard to simulate to weightless feeling of water

a) these bladders are large and are susceptible to punctures and deflation

3) some simulators are platforms mounted on several springs. Springs are flexible in nature but do not offer the true feeling of water in that

the “spring motion” elasticity is much much bouncy

a) secondly, when using springs or bladders, the ease and ability to change parts and repair onsite, if used as a ride, is much more time consuming and difficult.

4) some simulators include the use ball bearings and rotating plates and mounted via screws and other fastening devices.

a) the construction of these type of simulators use far more parts and are prone to more parts failure and and breaking down.

5) other surf simulators require hydraulic fluids and torsion rods which are all subject to forces that can stimulate breakdown that require costly repairs and disassembly.

6) all aforementioned surf simulators do not attempt to use computer assisted graphics or connections to a computer that

would give audio or visual feedback from the surfboard simulator or platforms.

7) none of the aforementioned surf simulators actually use a genuine, Hawaiian made surfboard made of materials that

are used in surfboard manufacturing.

8) the surf simulators or exercise platforms are not compact enough to be placed under a surfboard hidden and out of view.

The hardware and parts required to simulate surfing are mechanically too large to be placed under a surfboard shaped platform.

9) All the above mentioned patents, the fulcrum point is usually either a fixed, non-compressible: universal joint, rigid dome shaped member, springs with a central core of bladders or air shock absorbers. None feature a cylindrical fulcrum point that is made of compressible material that is semi-rigid in nature such as hard rubber, expanded polypropylene foam, etc. The flexible fulcrum that absorbs and dampens the initial weight forces when a person stands upon a platform supported by this semi-rigid fulcrum transfers any additional weight to the less rigid material such as foam rubber, springs and the likes surrounding the compressible fulcrum

It is therefore an object of the invention to help people experience the feeling of surfing on a real surfboard on dry land.

It is another object of the invention to allow people to play computer games while exercising.

It is another object of the invention to learn better balance skills for other sports

It is another object of the invention in which the system is lightweight and totally portable and easy to set up.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a surf simulator and/or balance trainer that allows a person to stand on a real surfboard, safely, less than five inches off the ground and learn how to surf by developing better balance skills. The person balances on the surfboard while the movements made by the surfboard are translated into signals by sensors on the board that a computer game depends upon. A surf game or computer graphic is displayed on the screen and responds accordingly to the movements made by the person on the surfboard through means of a cable from the surfboard connecting the sensors to the computer.

The genuine surfboard sits upon a compressible foam base which is shaped like the surfboard but scaled smaller in size than the surfboard. It cannot be seen from the top and is only noticeable from the side and bottom. It is important to note that the compressible foam base beneath the surfboard contains a central pillar/central fulcrum point that is semi-rigid foam that is much more dense than the surrounding foam that helps to maintain the board in a level position and supports the board during tilting movements. In essence, the central semi-compressible fulcrum pillar supports the majority of the weight placed on the surfboard keeping it always above the ground. The center core or pillar also contains the sensors that sends signals to the computer via a cable. The softer foam surrounding the semi rigid pillar allows the surfboard to tilt in all directions. The semi-rigid high density foam pillar is also used to create an initial “shock absorber” or cushion effect when the rider initially steps upon the board and also serves as a means to create more of a fluid movement in comparison to a pillar that is solid. The size and shape of this pillar is also essential to the “feeling” of the surf simulator.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, when considered in conjunction with the subsequent, detailed description, in which:

FIG. 1 is a various views view of a this is the overall view of all the parts and how they relate to one another. these drawings would enable someone to fabricate a surf simulator;

FIG. 2 is a sensor module enclosure view of a this diagram shows the detail of the sensor module enclosure and what is contained within the sensor module; and

FIG. 3 is an inside view of sensor module enclosure view of a this diagram shows the various views of the sensor module in detail along with the sensor switches that are contained within.

For purposes of clarity and brevity, like elements and components will bear the same designations and numbering throughout the Figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Detailed Description of a Preferred Embodiment

Referring first to FIG. 1, a surfboard 1 surfing simulator 1 consists of a generally flat rigid platform mounted substantially parallel to and above the ground or floor. The platform preferably resembles a surfboard 1, being generally elongated and slightly oval so as to give the game player the impression of actually moving along a real surfboard 1. The board may be fabricated from any rigid structural material, such as fiberglass, wood, metal, or plastic, and may be an actual production surfboard 1 mounted on the suspension system. Preferably, the board has a length at least three times the width, preferably four times the width. A user operates the simulator by placing his feet on the top surface of the surfboard 1 and by moving his feet and shifting his weight in such a way as to tilt the board from side to side and back to front.

The surfboard 1 simulator is electrically connected to a computer, which is in turn connected to a video monitor by the electrical wire cord 8. Through software controlled by the computer, a miniature surfing figure moves along the screen along x-y coordinates corresponding to the movement of the surfing simulator actuated by the user.

The surfing simulator or game controller is mounted on a base comprising an semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 made of compressible hardened rubber, dense EPP foam. Surfboard 1 is mounted on the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 surrounded by cushion foam rubber 9 which permits the surfboard 1 to roll in all directions with equal ease. The semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 can be semi or somewhat compressible and weight-supportive, and is preferably cylindrical with a circular horizontal cross-section. A cushion foam surfboard 1 shape shaped biasing suspension member is mounted surrounding the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3. As shown in FIG. 1, the suspension member is an cushion foam rubber 9 having a dimension of 36″ long by and 19″ wide, and has a height that approximates the height of the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3.

As shown in FIG. 2 the mounting base for the platform is an assembly comprising several parts. A velcro strip connector 4 serves as a mounting means for the connecting the sensor module enclosure 10 which houses the ball switch 5 components to the bottom of the surfboard 1. An interengaging strip of velcro strip connector 4 is similarly attached to the bottom surface of the surfboard 1, and an additional mating strip extends across the top surface of the sensor module enclosure 10.

The velcro strip connector 4 fastening means disclosed herein are commercially available hook-and-loop type interengaging fasteners; however, any similar adhesive-type fastening means may be used to connect the various components of the invention.

The semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 is also connected to the underside of the mounting board by means of a pair of velcro strip connector 4. on the bottom of the surfboard 1. Corresponding strips (not shown) attach the cushion foam rubber 9 to the parallel strip 22 on the bottom of the surfboard 1

An attitude sensor module enclosure 10 and numerous ball switch 5 series is located within the upper portion of the inside of the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 as shown in FIG. 1. The unit is removable, and attaches by means of adhesive or velcro. The electrical components of the unit are attached to the computer by means of an electrical wire cord 8 carrying multiple wires and a plug for attachment to computer shown in FIG. 1.

A preferred embodiment of the sensor is shown in FIGS. 2-3. An attitude sensor module enclosure 10 comprises a hollow casing FIG. 2 fabricated from plastic or aluminumor metal and has a bottom wall, the walls forming a housing to contain ball switch 5 units mounted atop a common, grounded metal pedestal 6 that is secured midpoint to the bottom wall of the sensor module enclosure 10 as shown in FIG. 3. The ball switch 5 units are mounted on this metal pedestal 6 3 degrees up from level permitting the steel balls within the ball switch 5 units to move in any direction depending upon the tilt attitude of the sensor module enclosure 10 unit mounted below the middle bottom point of the surfboard 1. The ball switch 5 units are made from a conductive metal, such as brass, copper, or steel.

As shown in FIG. 3, depending on the tilt angle the sensore module enclosure may engage either one of the two of the contact members within the ball switch 5 units, thereby providing a circuit through either contacts. This is read by the computer as a tilt direction either left or right, forward or backward. The circuitry for transmitting tilt angle to the computer is simple and conventional, being used in most commercially available joystick applications.

Of course, the sensor module enclosure 10 is not limited to being two contacts, but may have 6, 8, or more, thus providing a visually more continuous movement rather than being limited to the more familiar and conventional 3 or more degree. movements.

FIGS. 2-3 show embodiments which are simple gravity-operated ball switch 5 units actuated by an internal weighted ball mounted in separate cylindrical containers. As each of the housing tilts, either right or left, an electrical connection is made thereby indicating the attitude of the switch in the same manner previously discussed.

As is apparent from the specific examples in FIG. 2-3 shown herein, the switch sensor module enclosure 10 contains ball switch 5 units which contain a weighted, electrically conductive object which rolls within a tubular enclosure containing an electrical pole or contact. The closure member or ball is free to move in a horizontal direction responsive to the force of gravity to contact one or more of the contacts. A mercury switch may be used if desired but is not preferred.

Returning to FIG. 1, the suspension system for the foot-operated controller of the invention consists basically of a flexible cushion foam rubber 9 and a semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 column and resilient biasing made of cushion foam rubber 9 means for maintaining the board in a horizontal position. The biasing or damping means are preferably cushion foam rubber 9 beneath the surfboard 1 as shown in the drawings; the surrounding cushion foam rubber 9 surrounding the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 beneath the Surfboard 1, which can be of different weights, provides equal support all of the way around the periphery of the cylindrical semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 and can also be adjusted to provide a dampening effect. In other words, if a large or heavy person were to use the board, or if the game were to be made easier, the height of the cylindrical fulcrum could be decreased. However, it is also possible to substitute other resilient material, such as sponge rubber or even mechanical springs or a inflatable tire surrounding the fulcrum cylinder, to provide the biasing effect. Also, while the shape of the fulcrum has been shown as cylindrical, the particular object attached to the underside of the board may be lesser or greater than a cylinder, and may be non-spherical in shape, provided that the contact point with the ground provides a point or surface which enables the board to tilt in any direction equally around the circumference of the fulcrum. In other words, the fulcrum must be able to semi compress in any direction with equal ease without “bottoming out”

The control switch may be connected to any computer adapted to receive signals from a joystick controller; the signals received by the computer are the same as the signals from any other joystick. Obviously, any type of monitor may be used. For maximum effect of the game, it is preferred to have a type of game in which the figure portrayed on the monitor and controlled by the foot-operated controller represents a surfer. The surfing figure is then moved through various obstacles, such as slalom gates or large waves, to score points. Wipeouts in the waves, or collisions with other objects or other surfers, cause scoring detriments to the player.

The controller of the invention and the game of the invention are used in a conventional manner. When the electrical components of the game have been actuated, whether by insertion of a coin into a coin-receiving unit or simply by turning the unit on, the user mounts the surfing simulator and shifts his weight forwardly and rearwardly, and from side to side, thereby tilting the board against the suspension system and away from the horizontal attitude. As the board tilts, the ball switch 5 mechanism within the sensor module enclosure 10 attached to the central bottom point of the surfboard 1 and centrally located within the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3, is actuated by the movement of the ball switches contained in metal cans or cylinder, which opens and closes switches corresponding to the tilt angle of the board. Accordingly, movements of the board are displayed by corresponding movements of the figure on the screen, enabling the game player to control the surfing figure around obstacles and up and down waves as they appear on the screen. The controller may of course be used to control any game which is playable by a joystick, and affords the player a novel method of controlling the game as well as providing good exercise and improvement of balance control. Accordingly, the game controller of the invention has a multiple purpose.

Accordingly, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that a number of modifications and adaptations may be made to elements of the invention, several specific embodiments of which have been disclosed herein. These adaptations and modifications may be made within the spirit and scope of the invention; accordingly, the invention should not be limited with respect to the disclosures set forth above, but rather should be measured only by the following claims.

Since other modifications and changes varied to fit particular operating requirements and environments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for purposes of disclosure, and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention.

Having thus described the invention, what is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is presented in the subsequently appended claims.

Referenced by
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US7666120Nov 16, 2007Feb 23, 2010Brunswick CorporationExercise apparatus with three dimensional motion
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/36
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2220/801, A63B2220/833, A63F2300/8041, A63B2220/16, A63B2071/0641, A63B2220/807, A63B2071/0638, A63B2220/80, A63B2220/806, A63F13/06, A63F2300/1062, A63B69/0093, A63B24/0087, A63B24/0003, A63B2024/0096
European ClassificationA63B69/00U, A63F13/06, A63B24/00A, A63B24/00R